My view – Peter Burrows, Bishop of Doncaster

Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrows.
Bishop of Doncaster, Peter Burrows.
Have your say

Over the past few weeks I’ve followed with some interest, as I assume many of you have, the debate going on around the country between UKIP and the other political parties.

As I walked my dog around the village where I live , the only campaign notice I saw in any of the houses was one saying, ‘I’m voting UKIP’. It struck me that up to that point I had received my postal voting form but no other information about any of the candidates in the forthcoming elections.

That was rectified this week when a campaign leaflet from one of the main political parties popped through my letterbox. Up to the point of writing this article, this is the only information I have received.

The lack of information makes it very difficult to make an informed decision about how to vote other than on traditional and historic personal voting patterns and persuasions – though perhaps I should have been more proactive in finding out information for myself.

The lack of information may discourage some people from voting which impacts hugely on the outcome of elections. It also breeds complacency, disinterest, mistrust and cynicism in the political system and those elected. Nonetheless, I want to encourage everyone to exercise their democratic right to vote and to vote for whom they think most appropriate.

In Britain we enjoy the benefits of a democratic society that is the envy of many around the world, even though we may not always appreciate or value it ourselves.

We have health care, welfare benefits, a justice system, education and many other things won by good people, many of whom are Christians, standing up for what they believe to be right.

They were and are prepared to fight for the rights and justice and benefits of other people. They have created a democratic society where the benefits and welfare of all people is paramount. We may not always agree with political agendas and ideologies, but we shouldn’t diminish the attempts by local and national politicians to do the best, even if they don’t always get it right.

Neither should we simply enjoy the benefits of a democratic process while not exercising a proper responsibility for electing those we want to serve us.

I have no doubt whoever we vote for in the forthcoming elections each will do their best to serve the people of Doncaster. This isn’t an innocent or naive view but one built on the hope and expectation that those standing have a real passion to see Doncaster reach its potential and provide the very best services, within a limited budget.

It is definitely not for me to say how anyone should vote or which party they should vote for – that is a personal responsibility and decision – but I do believe that exercising your vote is important if you want to ensure we have people who will do the best for this borough and for individuals.